Posts Tagged ‘museum’

New – National Standards for Australian Museum and Galleries – Version 1.2


Version 1.2 of the National Standards for Australian Museum and Galleries has been released with updated resources and links. The release of this latest version continues the Taskforce’s commitment to continually review the document so that it remains relevant to the needs of Australian museums. This document is intended to be freely available to all of Australia’s many museums. We use the term museum to represent all collecting organizations in the sector


Download The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries version 1.2 


The Standards are focused on key areas of activity common to organisations that care for collections and provide collection-based services to the community. They aim to support museums and galleries in carrying out their day-to-day activities, meeting their responsibilities, attracting support, and achieving their other organisational objectives.


The National Standards Taskforce (see Appendix B of the Standards Document) has developed the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries in consultation with the museums and galleries sector and with reference to current practice, existing core standards, development and accreditation programs. The result is an up-to-date set of agreed Standards that are broad in their scope and are designed to be an accessible tool for museums nationwide.


The three parts, nine Principles and thirty-nine Standards within the document capture and explain core industry standards and practices. Benchmarks, tips and resources provide guidance on attaining or researching specific Standards.


The Standards may be used to:
• Understand principles and standards of vital importance to museum development
and management.
• Identify what can be done towards meeting specific Standards.
• Review the museum. Staff or external reviewers might use one or all parts and/or Standards as a basis for a review of operations.
• Advocate for resources to meet Standards
to governing bodies, different levels of government, and departments, regarding museum needs such as equipment, facilities and staffing
• Gain leverage to enhance access to funding
by provide a rigorous context for funding applications.
• Help make the museum more sustainable.
by providing support or measurements for a museum’s commitment to this aim.
• Identify areas to improve.
by allowing museums to discover areas of
operation that could be initiated, developed or improved.
• Promote achievements within the museum through identifying, communicating, celebrating and promoting the benchmarks they have met.
• Raise the museum’s profile with local, state/territory or federal government.
through promotion and networking, as well as forward planning with reference to government strategies and policies.
• Enhance the museum’s credibility, recognition and status within its local community.
through long-term strategic planning and in positioning themselves within their local community.
• Increase community confidence in the capacity of the museum.


The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries are structured in three parts:
• Part A: Managing the Museum
• Part B: Involving People
• Part C: Developing a Significant Collection


For each of these areas of activity, this document presents five levels of information:
• Principles: the core principles of museum practice addressed by the National Standards
• Standards: the criteria to be met as museums put the Principles into action
• Benchmarks: points of reference to assist museums wishing to demonstrate that they are working towards meeting specific Standards
• Tips: practical pointers and suggestions relating to specific benchmarks
• Books and online publications and/or web pages: print publications and online resources relevant to museums activities encompassed by individual benchmarks
(for use in conjunction with Appendix E; all online resources are hyperlinked)


The first five appendixes contain at-a-glance reference information:
• Appendix A: What Is a Museum? – extended definition of a museum, developed
by Museums Australia
• Appendix B: The National Standards Taskforce – information about the nine
organisations represented on the National Standards Taskforce
• Appendix C: Key Acronyms – a list of acronyms used in this document
• Appendix D: Glossary – concise definitions of key terms used in this document
• Appendix E: Resources – full bibliographical details for all print publications and
online resources referenced in this document.


Collecting organisations of all kinds are invited to use the National Standards framework as a practical point of reference, and are encouraged to continue providing feedback, contributing their insights, and reporting on their experiences, as the Standards continue to be developed (see Appendix F).


Contact details for Taskforce members in each state and territory are provided on the website of Collections Australia Network (CAN), the host site for the National Standards, and in Appendix F.


Importantly, the Standards offer museums opportunities for development long term, and can help them to identify priorities and develop policies, plans and procedures that will allow them to manage their activities effectively and to achieve their goals.


Benchmarks identified in this document can be incorporated into a museum’s planning in manageable stages, as resources become available.


Post by National Standards Taskforce, Australia, November 2011


Australia’s 1st Petrol-Driven Lawn Mower – City of Canada Bay Museum

Mowhall Mower Canada Bay Museum

The story behind Lawrence Hall’s ‘Mowhall’ mower and Mervyn Richardson’s ‘Victa’

Lawrence Hall was a self-taught inventor who went on to become a Marine Engineer. In 1948, tired pushing a lawnmower around his mother’s lawn and around the grounds of the Cabarita Speedboat Club he set about finding an easier way to get the job done.

Using his engineering knowledge he set about building a motorised lawnmower. Using a disc from a plough, tin cans and steel pipe scraps he constructed a prototype powered by another of Hall’s inventions, a three-horsepower marine engine. In 1993 the Sydney Morning Herald interviewed his son Walter who claimed that “It was a heavy old monster and I nearly cut my foot off with it.”

But Walter also claims that this prototype of Hall’s ‘Mowhall’ mower, was used before Mervyn Victor Richardson’s ‘Victa’ mower was ever built. Richardson, who went on to be credited by most people for inventing Australia’s first petrol-engine rotary mower, started work on his ‘Victa’ mower in a garage in Concord in 1952.

Eventually the ‘Victa’ mower made Richardson a multi-millionaire but while many agree he deserved credit for his insight into the mower’s potential others, like Walter, also felt he copied the basic form and method of propulsion from Lawrence Hall’s “Mowhall” mower. The Hall family’s claim is backed up by John Longhurst who was a teenager apprenticed to Hall as a fitter and machinist around this time.

According to Longhurst, Merve Richardson, then an associate of Hall’s, visited the workshop one day when Hall was fitting his mower with a ’snorkel’ to prevent the engine being clogged with dust. After Merve commented on what a wonderful idea it was Hall proceeded to demonstrate how the mower could cut even the longest grass.

Eventually Richardson came up with the ‘Victa’ mower which was much lighter and more compact in design and which would go on to make millions. Hall’s ‘Mowhall’ mower while far less successful is arguably no less important to this great Australian story of invention. It is certainly rarer and this “Mowhall” mower has been on display in the Concord Heritage Society Museum since the 1980s, accompanied by a sign declaring it to be “the machine from which all modern mowers were copies”.

Concord Heritage Society Museum
Opening hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
1 Bent Street, Concord
Group visits by arrangement.
Admission FREE (donations welcome)

Post from Lois Michel, Concord Historical Society


CAN – GLAM Sector News – 20 Oct – 27 Oct 2010

Lots to report on from the Can001 twittersphere this week

One of the most useful documents tweeted this week was released on the 19th Oct by the Australian Bureau of Statistics – A statistical overview of Arts and Culture in Australia –

Also this week we were finally given an erudite answer to the most pressing question on the internet – Why Does the Web Love Cats?

The Australian Film Institute Award 2010 Nominees were announced

Playing Australia, the Australian Government’s national performing arts touring program, Round 37 is open - This program is designed to assist the touring of performing arts across state and territory boundaries. A principal objective of Playing Australia is to support tours to regional and remote Australia and is open to theatre, music, opera, dance, puppetry and circus.

Digital Culture Fund deadline is coming up (Nov 22nd) a new round of the Geek in Residence program about to open- Ozco’s artsdigitalera want to talk about your idea for a digital arts project or a geek in residence placement? Adelaide 29 Oct – 1 Nov; Brisbane 3-4 Nov; Perth 8-9 Nov; Melb 10-12 Nov; Hobart 15-16 Nov; Syd 18 Nov – more details –

Had the pleasure of vicariously watching Tim O’reilly deliver his keynote @ Xinnovate conference on 26th. Some great ideas and the O’reilly innovation plan: innovating starts with fun – think of a great idea that could change the world – work on the business model – build an ecosystem – i.e. apple gives money to people to develop app platforms for its iphone – revalue people

I also came across this nice idea – a youtube version of the British Library exhibition on the stories behind 15 21st century British inventions.

Work of Aussie film photographers Greig Fraser (Let me in) & Adam Arkapaw (Animal Kingdom) showcased in October edition of American Cinematographer.

The Australian Maritime Museum listed a few new upcoming events including Matthew Flinders Return: 200th anniversary symposium, 31 October 2010, Bligh: Master Mariner – with Rob Mundle, Friday 12 November, behind-the-scenes at Wharf 7, 24th November – more at

The 17th Biennale of Sydney advertised an exciting role to join the Biennale team as the Nick Waterlow OAM Curatorial Fellow. A unique opportunity to work closely with high calibre national and international artists, arts workers and venues in a fast-paced and exciting festival. Applications close Monday, 22 November.

ABC Innovation, Sydney, is also looking for PHP/Python developer to work on exciting new mapping and education projects – close date 5 November –

ABC Arts also posted a video of Gilbert & George in conversation with Virginia Trioli on Artscape Monday, 22 February 2010, video at

The Perth Institute of Performing Arts (PICA) performance space to continue operations into 2011 –

Darren Beauchamp John Hillier from AGIMO (Australian Government Information Management Office) present their slideshow at the IPV6 summit. What is this – well apparently Internet Protocol Version 6 offers the world simpler networks, enhanced mobility and security, and almost unlimited addresses for the next-generation Internet. – see more at –

The Museum of Islamic Art in Old Cairo opens after seven-year renovation project

Launch of “Sciences& curiosities at the Court of Versailles” – an exhibition on the scientific exhibitions held in Versailles –

A selection of impressive nature photographs – From the Guardian – top 40 – A polar bear dance, a doomed thresher shark, and a crowd of giant tortoises gathered at dawn in the Galapagos etc –

Finalists from Guggenheim’s ‘Play’ a biennale of Creative video – saw 25 selected from 23,000 entries from around the globe including one Australian – the amazing work of Keith Loutit for his Bathtub IV – – more about the event

This is a link to check whether your Gallery Library Archive or Museum is listed in the world catalogue registry

Interesting – Edmodo – a social learning network for teachers, students, schools and districts provides free classroom communication for teachers, students and administrators on a secure social network. –

This is a nice list of 200 old occupation definitions compiled by Jane Hewitt – @familyresearchr×4ktdk

The National Library of Australia has acquired a rare account of an 1840s attack on a group of Indigenous people by white squatters in Queensland

More accolades for the sector as a librarian enters the Guinness Book of Records for collecting 22.1 grams of ‘belly button fluff ‘ –

UK Museums – Renaissance in the Regions – An independent review of Renaissance, published in July 2009, endorsed the flagship funding programme as the most important intervention in English non-national museums since the Museums Act of 1845. Says the £300m invested since the programme started in 2002 has helped transform the regional museum sector across the country and boost visitor figures. 15 mill visitors to these hub museums per annum up 18.5% since 2002/03

Librarians – Social Networking – Facebook – an interesting outline in the Course Wiki:

National Museum of Australia has posted the ‘Caring for collections’ symposium – Audio downloads of speakers –

Open Library – open source – book reader –

Melbourne Museum Exhibition has minerals online in 3D at

Australia Library Technicians Conference Perth Sept 2011 call for papers

A guide for using statistics for evidence based policy, 2010

Mackay Council – Ooralea Local Area Plan – online consultation process up and running

Australian Poetry – two positions – NSW director and National Admin Assistant – details:

An interface built by Tim Sherratt at the National Archives of Australia for searching on their fact sheets – [tip - make sure you click on the fact sheet links]

Next Records Managers Forum for NSW Public Sector on ICT and records partnerships – Nov 8 – Register here:

Interesting new museum experiences from launch of Powerhouse Museum Collection database API – Amped –


Public / Private collaborations II

The relationship between public collector and private institution generated a wonderful discussion in CAN-notices last week. We opened up that dialogue in the previous post but here we will look more closely at the reasons why it causes such controversy.

The main issues are:
1. What kind of connections are appropriate between private collectors and public museums?
2. To what extent do public institutions depend on valuable private collections?
3. Should private collectors use public institutions to build their own reputations?
4. Or is the real issue that private collectors do not need the not-for-profit sector and can hold their own exhibitions in the commercial spaces?  

Directors of galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are focused on developing strategic relations with private collectors and philanthropists. GLAMs have been built on donations by private interests for centuries. The United States-based Association of Art Museum Directors published an article in January 2007 titled Museums, private collectors and the public benefit supporting public and private partnerships. AAMD believe private collectors and philanthropists are responsible for the ‘unprecedented growth of art museums.’ To ensure our cultural institutions grow, museum directors must be focused on ‘the development and cultivation of strategic relationships’. The flaw in this argument is that institutions become reliant on the commercial sector. This global recession has made many GLAMs reconfigure their funding models.

The Art Newspaper says that while the strong relationships built between wealthy art collectors and museums in the 19th century were taken for granted, recently questions have been raised about the kind of connections that are appropriate. Last year, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art courted controversy when it hosted an exhibition of comedian Cheech Marin’s private collection of works by Chicano painters. Online blogger Hoogrrl suggested: ‘He (Cheech Marin) should direct his efforts at helping LACMA mount a Chicano art show that is curated and scholarly instead of a mere exhibition of his own collection, which I understand is not the best representation of Chicano art anyway and may actually diminish the importance of this these artists in the history of contemporary art. The mission of a public institution is going to be different from that of an individual, therefore, individual collectors should find creative ways to show their collections and promote their goals by using private funds, in private settings.’

The Leipzig Museum of Contemporary Art director Barbara Steiner plans to follow LACMA’s initiative and host a series of shows by private collectors rather than curate the exhibitions using their works as a foundation. She says it is ‘open experiment in the way that public and private resources can be used together.’ Steiner believes it does not blur the boundaries between public and commercial interests but sheds light on the issue that private museums are increasingly ‘manouvering public institutions out of the limelight’.

Munich’s Haus der Kunst director Dr Dercon argues: ‘You can raise questions about public and private museums, but what we need to discuss is the usurping of intellectual power by the commercial world.’

Collectors give the public access to some of the world’s finest masterpieces but public institutions need to work together to better define their benefactor’s role. Hooggrrl agrees with Dercon that the modern issue lies with private institutions. ‘The “undue” influence of collectors and dealers is less of a threat than the noticeable tendency for these parties to lose interest in public institutions. If a director feels the influence of a collector or dealer in a particular proposal is too great, then he or she should simply say “no”. The real problem is that private collectors no longer feel the need to put pressure on museums to gain influence over them. They simply build their own exhibition spaces and appoint directors of their choice. This loss of interest is slowly manoeuvring public art institutions out of public visibility and away from social recognition.’

Here are several examples of cross-sector collaborations in Australia:
Case study 1: The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney is an example of a private not-for-profit institution in Australia. Its mission statement is to exhibit significant works not easily accommodated in private galleries, contemporary art spaces or the museum sector’.

Case study 2: Larrakitj, Kerry Stokes Collection and the Art Gallery of Western Australia
The Art Gallery of Western Australia presented the exhibition of Indigenous sculptures Larrakitj from the Kerry Stokes Collection. It was curated by the Kerry Stokes Collection associate curator Anne Brody.

Case study 3: John Kaldor and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
In 1995 the MCA exhibited John Kaldor’s private collection, John Kaldor Public Art Projects and Collection, to coincide with an exhibition of Jeff Koon’s work and the latest Kaldor art project, Puppy.

Case Study 4: James Fairfax and the Art Gallery of NSW
One of this country’s greatest philanthropists James Fairfax donated his entire European art collection to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2003 transforming the gallery’s collection. Works by van Ruisdael, Rubens, Canaletto, Claude, Boucher, Amigoni, Domenico, Tiepolo, van Mieris and drawings by Ingres, Watteau, Fragonard and Greuze have been displayed in the galleries that bear his name.

The gallery’s press release says, ‘These gifts have enriched the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW and provided impetus and direction to the development of this previously under-represented aspect of the Gallery’s collection … The quality and distinction of the works he has acquired would grace any of the world’s great public institutions.’

Sarah Rhodes


Ten ways to improve your multimedia production

Ten ways to improve your multimedia production follows on from one of our previous posts on producing digital stories to preserve intangible heritage. Mediastorm offers ten tricks to ensure a professional multimedia production. The examples cited in this text are from Mediastorm’s digital stories found on their website.

1. Don’t use dissolves between images. As a general principal, these are unnecessary.
2. Avoid excessive pans and other Ken Burns-style effects. Animation on stills is effective only when done sparingly. These techniques should be a surprise like an exclamation point in literature. And as Elmore Leonard teaches, “You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.” So let’s just say two still animation effects for every 10 minutes of your project. See Finding the Way Home for an example of just how few image moves are actually used.
3. Give your images time to breathe. In multimedia, we have the power to determine how long viewers spend with each photograph. A good rule of thumb is to leave each photograph onscreen for at least two-and-a-half seconds. Three or four seconds is even better. Watch the opening sequence of Rape of a Nation for an example.
4. Show an identifying photograph or video of everyone who talks when they speak for the first time. Identify them with a name and title. It’s a courtesy to your viewers. See Never Coming Home for an example.
5. Use image sequences to transitions between ideas or themes. Think of image sequences as paragraph breaks between two big ideas. Sometimes these sequences need only be two photographs long, or on occasion even one will suffice. See the poaching sequence in Black Market for an example.
6. Work with your music. Allow your images to flow dynamically with the changes in your music. Cut on the beat. Cut against the beat. End your piece with the final sting of the music. Edit the music, cut it up, and make it an integral part of your project, not just background noise. See the funeral section of BLOODLINE.
7. Use music dynamically. Increase the volume during an image sequence; decrease during an interview. Your music should be thematic just as your photographs are. See Kingsley’s Crossing fro an example of how music weaves in an out of an interview.
8. Use one-second frame dissolves to smooth rough audio. It’s startling to hear how a one-second frame dissolve can save a clip that would otherwise end abruptly.
9. Use room tone between gaps in dialogue, even when using a musical bed. Without room tone, your audio will sound like someone dipping in and out of a cave.
10. Watch your production on speakers with someone who has not yet seen the piece. There’s something about reviewing your work with an audience that makes one more self-conscious and thus open to seeing new things.

Sarah Rhodes



Artist residencies are an effective way of developing a profile around a cultural institution. Museums of any size can invite artists to reinterpret the objects in their collection resulting in the artist exhibiting their work in the gallery. Even commercial enterprises invite artists to creatively interpret their space while engaging, even challenging its audience. Global Art Projects is an independent curatorial, arts consultancy and management company that runs residency programs. GAP has run two programs for the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins hotel – most recently hosting Anne Zahalka for one week. They hosted Queensland-based contemporary installation artist Donna Marcus in July 2007.

Here are some examples of artist-in-residency programs:
Anne Zahalka produced her Hotel Suite 2008 series while an artist-in-residence at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.
Trust run by The National Trust of Tasmania commissioned eight prominent Tasmanian artists to research, develop and mount work that interrogates and elaborates the stories, history, culture and environment of each of the historic properties.
The World Beach Project was devised by artist Sue Lawty in association with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. It is a global crowd-sourcing art project open to anybody, anywhere, of any age, building on the experience many of us have had on holiday of making patterns on beaches and shorelines.
The Exploratorium is a museum of science, art, and human perception in San Franscisco which runs an artist-in-residence program. Its aim is ‘to advance a culture of experimentation and collaboration, to engage artists in all facets of museum endeavor and community life, to inspire curiosity and understanding among diverse audiences, and to produce objects, experiences, and knowledge that stimulate new ideas and new directions in the arts, sciences and education’.

Sarah Rhodes